10 Things Worse Than Getting Fatter

10 things worse than getting fatter

I’m living in Italy right now. Nobody goes to Italy and thinks, “This is the perfect time to cash in on my New Year’s Resolution and lose 10 pounds.”

You eat in Italy.

You eat bread in all sorts of forms. Croissants, loaves, pasta, pastries, pizza. You eat cheese in sorts of forms. Melted. Sliced. Shaved. Gooey. You drink wine in one form: plenty.

I have never had a metabolism that allows me to eat all I want without gaining weight. I have never had washboard abs. Sure, I’ve never been highly overweight, but I have also never been without a little extra flesh – even at my leanest. (If you don’t believe me, know I am in control of every photo I put on social media.)

For many years, I equated shame with weight. If I lean over and my jeans created a crease where my belly flopped out a bit, that equaled unloveable. If my arm was close to my side and the flesh spread out a bit, that equaled unworthy.

Through practicing the art of self-love, self-care, and good health, I have managed to overcome these negative thought patterns… for the most part.

13466305_10154259090943210_4805106703890094943_n

Enter Italy. Italy is a gluten-free powerhouse with homemade and handmade GF pastas, breads, pastries, and deliciousness for my Celiac-y self. Everything tastes like an orgasm. I close my eyes and moan when the gluten-free bruschetta touches my taste buds, people. It’s food magic.

I eat in Italy, but I also walk and walk and walk, so I wasn’t concerned at first. Until one morning I woke up and realized, “I could get fatter in the two months here.” Then those shame gremlins (as Brené Brown calls them) started creeping up saying, “If you get fatter, you will be unloveable.”

You know what? That’s a load of shit.

things worse than getting fatter

I am in Italy. I am going to eat Italian food. Not just eat it – enjoy it. I’m over the idea that pleasures are inherently guilty and my worth as a woman is found in how well I can deny myself.

I’m gonna eat the gluten-free pizza with buffalo mozzarella and proscuitto. I’m having gelato for breakfast. You know why? There are worse things.

10 Things Worse Than Getting Fatter

1. Spending lots of money to live in Italy for 2 months, but choosing the side salad instead.

2. Allowing shame to dictate my whole entire freaking life.

3. Being grumpy because the hot man across from me (AKA The Boyfriend) is eating his 6th slice of Napoli pizza while I’m gnawing on some lettuce. (For what it’s worth, I ate the whole damn gluten-free handmade Napoli pizza myself. Except for one slice that I ate for breakfast the next morning.)

4. Letting the patriarchy determine what women should look like in order to be good enough, sexual, or successful.

5. War. War is definitely worse than getting fatter.

6. Wondering if my tummy is popping out instead of wondering how Michelangelo managed to carve David’s large… torso.

7. Not enjoying the taste of wine as it is supposed to be tasted, the Italian way: with an extra glass.

8. Getting small. And I don’t mean on the outside in pounds and fat. I mean small on the inside. Shrinking my soul into a concave wisp of unworthiness that believes I’m not strong or powerful enough to occupy space simply because I licked on a cone of gelato.

9. Being so self-involved that I think the citizens of this globe notice when I go up 4.2 pounds.

10. Missing out. On the wild, electric, mystical, transcendental pleasures of life. Missing out all all the joyous flavors life offers. Missing out on the wholeness of the human experience – including good food. Missing out on ENJOYING.

10 things worse than getting fatter

I’m not advocating obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. I’m not talking about binging or numbing through overeating. I believe in moderation, vegetables, and exercise. I want to be healthy, so I can live a long, interesting, and full life.

But.

I’m over worrying about whether or not I should pee before weighing myself. I’m actually over weighing myself.

I’m over drawing a connection between my carbohydrate intake and my lovability.

I’m over denying myself the pleasure of enjoying good food because heaven forbid I don’t adhere to the ideal weight number for 365 days x 70 years.

In case I didn’t say clearly enough that there are many things worse than getting fatter, allow Eat, Pray, Love to do it for you. This is my Italian motto:

Eat well, my friends, and love yourself.

Tay

When In Rome: The Colosseum, Palentine Hill & Roman Forum

palentine hill

You cannot go to Rome and not go to the Colosseum. I think it’s a travel law. Here is our experience and a few tips to make your ancient Roman experience just as nice as ours!

What I didn’t realize until a few days before we went is that a ticket to the Colosseum also gives you entry to the Roman Forum and the Palentine Hill, and you can do all three in one day. All three are located in the same archeological area.

If you’re like me, you may not have even heard of these other two spots. Either we are normal or super uneducated. Just roll with it. That’s what we do. Roll with it and rock it.

colosseum

**When in Rome, the best way is to see all this is to start at the Palentine Hill, move on to the Roman Forum, and then use the Roman Forum’s exit gate which leads you to the Colosseum. Not only is this the best way to walk less, you also save significant time by buying your ticket at the Palentine Hill where there are no lines instead of the Colosseum with hour-long lines.**

The Palentine Hill: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • The Palentine Hill is supposedly where Remus and Romulus were saved by the she-wolf. According to the legend, Romulus came back to build a city on that very hill.
  • This was the home to the rich and famous of Rome.

We didn’t take a tour, nor did we read much about these sites before we went. We relied on our eyes to see what surrounded us as well as the plaques that offer great historical information. We like to be free birds as much as possible and not get tied to a tour group. At no point were we disappointed with this choice.

We roamed and roamed (get it? When in Rome… roam.). Trust me, there is SO MUCH LAND FOR ROAMING. We felt like we got a workout in while beefing up our historical prowess.

palentine hill when in rome

roman forum

There’s a really nice museum at the Palentine Hill full of art and artifacts. Not only was it interesting, but it was also a nice air-conditioned step away from the heat of summer Rome.

palentine hill

The Roman Forum: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • This sprawl of ruins used to be a grand spot of temples, hang out spots, and living quarters starting in the 7th century BC.
  • The Roman Forum wasn’t discovered until excavations in the early 1800s, and the process took over 100 years.

roman forum

Beautiful ruins after beautiful ruins after beautiful ruins. That’s the Roman Forum.

when in rome

The Colosseum: Quick and Interesing Facts

  • The Colosseum was completed in 80 AD. It was a 10-year project.
  • 36 trap doors provided old school special effects.
  • The Colosseum held approximately 50,000 spectators.
  • As a sign in the Colosseum explains, the idea of this amphitheater being a place of Christian martyrdom isn’t actually verified at all. Nonetheless, it was a gruesome killing house.
  • It opens to the public at 9am and closes one hour before sunset.
  • Admission is 12€ (again, this also includes the Roman Forum and the Palentine Hill). This is unlike ancient times, when admission was entirely free!
  • The lines are exceedingly long. It is best to buy your ticket at either the Palentine Hill or Roman Forum and hit up the Colosseum last. This way you will only have to wait through the entry line, not the purchasing line.

The truth is when you walk into the Colosseum, you are standing in a beautiful, stunning, awe-inspiring structure…. built by 60,000 slaves and used to murder around 500,000 people and one million animals. It’s a mixed feeling sort of place, as you can imagine.

By the time we made it to the Colosseum, the sun was hot, and we were thrilled that we had already purchased the ticket. We still ended up waiting about a half hour to get in, but the wait was well worth it.

the colosseum

The first thing we noticed was how much smaller it felt in real life compared the visions you get from watching The Gladiator. That did not take away from the feelings of awe. This is an incredible and brilliant feat of architecture.

the colosseum

You are able to see the Colosseum from two different heights. You can go underneath for more money, which we opted not to do (after all, we do travel on a budget). We didn’t feel like we missed out. There were hoards of tourists. You could think of it as frustrating, but considering the Colosseum held 50,000 people, it’s honestly a more authentic experience.

In the shaded walkway areas, they have artifacts, diagrams, and informational signs. They were all extremely interesting and informative. Since we chose to go guide-free, so all this information helped us feel more knowledgeable while we were exploring.

the colosseum

Overall, we spent a little under an hour roaming and taking photos in the Colosseum. It was truly an incredible experienced we enjoyed. It’s always humbling to stand in such ancient history.

when in rome

When In Rome: The Pantheon

the pantheon

On our Rome sightseeing bucket list was the Pantheon. Though not nearly as exciting and/or overwhelming as some of the other sights we have seen (including the incredible Vatican), it was still a wonderful experience. The weather was beautiful and the sky was overcast; we had a lovely adventure!

pantheon

The Pantheon: Quick & Interesting Facts:

  • Entrance to The Pantheon is free!
  • The first Pantheon was said to be built in 27 BC. It burned in the great fire of 80 AD. Then it was rebuilt and burned again in 110 AD. Then it was rebuilt in 120 AD. Talk about determination.
  • The Corinthian columns weigh 60 tons each.
  • The Pantheon was originally created for all the Roman gods. Later on it was converted into a Christian house of worship.
  • There is a real Egyptian Pharaoh’s obelisk in front of the Pantheon.

pantheonMy sexy man. 

We took a 30 minute stroll from our apartment in Trastevere to the Pantheon. At least, it was supposed to be 30 minutes. We got distracted by cappuccinos. Can you blame us? Then we got distracted by a delicious gluten-free pastry shop. But you know what they say… “when in Rome, eat and drink until you’re a glutton!”

room gluten-free foodThis, my friends, is called a foodgasm.

We finally made our way to the Pantheon and were super happy that the admission was free. The outside structure was seriously impressive. It’s humbling to stand next to such large buildings that have stood the test of time. We were both in awe and did lots of “wide-eyed amazement” stares.

pantheon

The inside was equally gorgeous. You could opt to buy an audio guide headset, but since it is such a small building, we decided to rely on our eyes and the information signs. I’m perfectly satisfied with that experience and would recommend it.

pantheon

The whole visit took us about a half hour. The Pantheon is located nearby to both the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain if you want to catch a few sites in one morning.

pantheon

Attempting to get a cool selfie without people in awkward positions behind us was quite the challenge in the busy Pantheon. I’m pretty sure this was photo attempt #241.

Eating Gluten-Free In Florence

gluten-free in florence

In all my years as a gluten-free eater with Celiac, I have never had an easier time or a more enjoyable time eating out than I have in Italy. I know, I know, you think of all that bread and pasta and assume it’s a gluten nightmare.

Not the case at all!

Eating gluten-free in Florence was a joy. In fact, Italy as a whole is far ahead of the States in terms of gluten-free availability and contamination caution when preparing food in a shared kitchen.

When we leave Rome, I will do a huge comprehensive ultimate guide to gluten-free eating in this wonderful city. But now I want to highlight the amazing places we ate while staying for 3 days in Florence.

Starbene Gluten Free

Let me just start with the Queen of Gluten-Free. I found the absolute best gluen-free pastries I have ever had in my life – by a long shot – at Starbene. In fact, they were probably the best pastries I’ve had in my life overall. The owner has figured out how to make gluten-free flours to be light and flakey.

Over the three days I enjoyed both chocolate and custard-filled croissants, an apple strudel, and a chocolate donut. All were pure bliss.

Ciro & Sons

Right off the train from Rome, we were starving. Luckily, Ciro & Sons was only a 10 minute walk away. We sat on their lovely patio and shared a bottle of sparkling water. Almost every single thing on their menu could be made gluten-free. The waiter took his time to explain the few things that could not be converted.

I opted for Gnocchi (pictured above). It was truly the best I’ve ever had. Kyle and I shared a banana caramel cheesecake because we weren’t quite painfully stuffed enough! This was probably the best meal we had.

Trattoria da Garibardi

For our first dinner, we stopped at this highly-rated restaurant in the heart of Florence, Trattoria da Garibardi. The gluten-free menu was extensive and delicious.

We started the night of with a half liter of red wine. Then we shared a gluten-free fried pizza dough starter with ham and cheese. The waitress then brought me out GF bread loaf. I chose eggplant parmesan for my main course. Incredible.

Le Botteghe Di Donatello

Our second day was spent mostly at the Duomo, so we wanted a place nearby. Le Botteghe Di Donatello is right across the street from the Duomo, which means it’s convenient, but slightly pricier. We sat inside due to the rain and had phenomenal service.

We shared half liter of red wine. I ordered pizza with a crispy gluten-free crust, mushrooms, real mozzarella, and prosciutto. For dessert, I had a panna cotta with berry sauce.

I’Toscano

For our final dinner, we went away from the crowds and found a small, rustic, authentic Italian restaurant called I’Toscano. It was quiet other than all the Italian voices! Loved it.

Their entire menu could be made gluten-free. We started with (you guessed it!) a half liter of red wine, a basket of gluten-free bread, and then a meatballs starter. I opted for a lighter dish this night and chose chicken and greens. To the side there were fried veggies. Truly the highly of the meal. We finished by sharing a chocolate torte

Maso

Before our train the final day, we grabbed some lunch at Maso and sat outdoors under the covered patio. While they didn’t have gluten-free bread, they did have pasta and pizza dough. I opted for the gluten-free pasta with tomatoes and prawns. It was really nice and the service was wonderful.

Gluten Free

The Uffizi & The Accademia: Florence Museums Guide

florence museums

Florence is an epicenter for Renaissance art. You could spend days and days going through galleries seeing beautiful painting after painting and sculpture after sculpture. Unless you are living abroad in Florence or have a full week at your disposal, you are going to need to check out the highlights and call it good enough.

Trust me. These galleries are so impressive you won’t feel like you’re missing out even if they are all you see! These are the big dogs. They’re famous for good reason.

During our 3 days there, we actually went to a total of three Florence museums: The Uffizi, The Accademia, and the Duomo’s art museum. I covered the last one in my post on The Duomo, so today will be all about The Uffizi and The Accademia.

florence museums

Look. I love going to art galleries. Always have. But there is something special about going through them standing next to an actual artist. And as most of you know, Kyle is no run-of-the-mill artist (Think I’m just biased? I’m not. Look here!). I adore seeing the artwork through his eyes too.

The Uffizi: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • The Uffizi was built in 1581 under the request of a member of the Medici family.
  • The building was never meant to house the best art in the world. It was going to be a corporate office.
  • The regular tickets are 8€. We ordered ours ahead of time (using this helpful guide), so we didn’t have to wait in line. That was an extra 4€, but well worth it. On the first Sunday of every month, The Uffizi is free for everyone. Allowing all people to enjoy the art.
  • The Uffizi closes on Mondays. Tuesday-Sunday the hours are 8:15-6:50.

florence museums

The Uffizi is huge and full of treasures. We really enjoyed our time wondering through the hallways like the one above just as much as we did the individual rooms. (P.S. The Leonardo da Vinci room disappointed. There was better art from other lesser known artists.)

florence museums

 

There is so much to see, we took a little pit stop at a bench and people watched. Yes, it’s a bit crowded. But be patient. Eventually a crowd will move and you can get a cool view or picture of whatever you want to see.

uffiziGypsy feet 

The Accademia: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • Overall, The Accademia is actually a pretty small museum. The main draw is Michelangelo’s David. Once you’re there, you’ll see why!
  • The tickets are also 8 €, and just like the Uffizi, we ordered them ahead of time to avoid the lines and paid an extra 4€. Trust me: worth it.
  • The Accademia closes on Mondays. Tuesday-Sunday the hours are 8:15-6:50.

florence museums

The Accademia is actually rather small for an art museum. It’s main draw is the David. And he does not disappoint. He was much larger and more magnificent than I had ever pictured. We looked up at him for a good 20 minutes.

This is a stunningly perfect work of art. You will see his hands and head are actually a bit too big, but when you stand much further away, it looks exactly as it should. There’s serious genius behind this statue.

If you follow me in Instagram, you will have already seen my “What does David’s backside look like?” post. But here it is in case you don’t! (Don’t pretend you’ve never wondered!)

florence museums

The rest of the museum was okay. Nothing I was overly impressed by, but I wouldn’t say I was bored either. Don’t plan on spending more than an hour at this spot. Seeing David though was truly a highlight of the trip. So don’t leave without visiting The Accademia.

**You’ll notice that both the museums are closed on Mondays. Keep this in mind when you decide which days to visit Florence.**

florence museums